Sicily, 1977 Ten-year-old Lily and family arrive for their annual summer holiday in Sicily. Adopted as a toddler, Lily’s childhood has been idyllic.
But a chance encounter with a local woman on the beach changes everything…. 10 years later… Ever since that fateful summer Lily’s picture-perfect life, and that of her family has been in turmoil.
The secrets of the baking hot shores of Sicily are calling her back, and Lily knows that the answers she has been so desperately seeking can only be found if she returns to her beloved island once more…
A family drama set in iconic Sicily initially in 1977. Lily’ lives a privileged life, including an annual holiday to the same villa in Sicily. She knows she was a survivor of an earthquake in Sicily in 1968, but nothing of her birth family and that isn’t problematic until she meets a stranger on the beach, who upsets the family dynamics and changes Lily’s life forever. Lily returns to island ten years later, to find out who she is.
Family secrets are at the centre of this story, brought to life with the vivid description of its setting in Sicily. Character driven, it examines how one chance encounter can change relationships and threaten the core values of a previously happy family. Lily’s character development is the greatest as she moves from childhood to adulthood and finally discovers her roots. It highlights that well-meant actions and decisions sometimes have unforeseen consequences.
If you are looking for a poignant, deep holiday, read then try this perfect escape to Sicily and all its secrets.
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Penny Feeny has lived and worked in Cambridge, London and Rome. Since settling in Liverpool many years ago, she has been an arts administrator, editor, radio presenter and advice worker. Her short fiction has been widely published and broadcast and won several awards. Her first novel, That Summer in Ischia, was one of the summer of 2011’s best selling titles.
A city on lockdown. In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.
A detective in danger. Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession, and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.
A killer out of control. As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?
‘They’d found the body in the entrance to their block of flats where, sometimes, bleary-eyed, they would avoid treading on the dog shit some neighbour couldn’t care less about cleaning up – teenagers on the way to school at eight in the morning. They’d been the first to leave the building, apparently, although it was now known the victim didn’t live in the same complex. Paola Gentili, mother of three, a cleaner, on her way to work. Multiple blows to the cranium. No sign of sexual assault. No attempt to appropriate money or valuables. No sign of a struggle.
So, it seemed she had been taken completely unawares. Better for her. Husband had been informed. Distraught. Had given them the few preliminary details they required without the need for any formal interview. That would have to wait until they got the go-ahead from the presiding magistrate. But the guy seemed clean enough going by the checks the new ‘privatized’ IT system had given them in record time. What social media access she had was regular and only moderately used. Meanwhile, they’d started looking into the other stuff. No particular leads. No affairs. No money issues. No links to known families in the organized sector. Worked in a ministry in the centre of the city. No unexplained calls. Just waiting now on the forensics guys to come up with something more concrete to work with.
Inspector Michael Rossi had only just driven through the gates in the Alfa Romeo. He had known immediately that something big was coming by the urgency of Carrara’s steps as he’d emerged from the baroque archway leading from the Questura’s offices to the car park. If Rossi had bothered to switch his phone on before it would have got him out of bed, what? Twenty minutes earlier? But that wouldn’t have saved anyone’s life. Now, the debris of takeaway espressos and sugar sachets violated the bare desk space separating them in his office. Their own cleaner had just been in, chatty as ever, oblivious as yet to the news.
“Other than that,” said Carrara, “we’re totally in the dark on this one. But it does look like there’s a possible pattern emerging.”
“You’ve been busy,” said Rossi.
The second such killing in as many weeks. The modus operandi and the victim profile bore distinct similarities, but no one had dared yet to use the term. Serial? Was it possible? In Rome?
Detective Inspector Luigi Carrara. Five years Rossi’s junior, several years under his belt in anti-mafia, undercover, eco-crime, narcotics, now on the Rome Serious Crime Squad. Recently married, he had the air of one of those men who never seem to have overdone anything in their lives: hardly a wrinkle, haircut every month, bright, fluid in his movements. Just the man Rossi needed on a Monday morning like this one.
“How similar?” said Rossi, still struggling to form what he considered decent sentences, though his mind was already whirring into action. “The weapon, for instance?”
“Blunt instrument. Iron bar or hammer, probably.”
“Who’s on the scene?”
“A few boys from the local station. They got the magistrate there sharpish though. Hopefully, they’ll have disturbed as little as possible. She was carrying ID, so we got to work with that straight off, once the news came in on the police channel.”
“Not officially. But they will.”
“Out of town, I think.”
“Good. Let’s go,” said Rossi grabbing his battered North Face from the coat stand, feeling more vigorous and even a little bit up for it. “I want to see this one for myself.” ‘
‘A Known Evil’, is an informative, well- researched international thriller. It details a serial killer’s exploits in a well-paced plot, set against a background of Italian politics and bureaucratic corruption, involving the church, police, judiciary and state.
If you are expecting graphic, serial killing detail, and knife-edge suspense, you may be disappointed. This story concentrates on how the corruption in all aspects of Italian life has facilitated the serial killer. Hampering the police investigation and furthering his and the corrupt officials’ sinister agenda.
Michael Rossi is the senior investigating officer; he is well-educated, a philosopher and a theologer, he sees his police officer role as a vocation. An enlighted individual who looks at the bigger picture, which helps him to be an excellent detective. His success allows him a certain latitude with his bosses, but they still frustrate his progress if he threatens their much-prized status quo. There are shades of ‘Morse’ and ‘Hathaway’ in this character with the Italian influence of ‘Zen’, and he is both likeable and interesting, worthy of more than one book.
I read this story in a day, intricately constructed with multiple settings and subplots that demand concentration to see how they relate to the overall story. The short chapters allow action and detail to be delivered in manageable bites, keeping the story’s momentum and suspense levels high.
There are plot twists and misinformation that keep you guessing. The reader glimpses aspects of the main characters’ past lives, perhaps the springboard for further stories in the series? The atmospheric, edgy ending answers all the questions posed throughout.
‘A Known Evil, ‘ explores in vivid detail the political intrigue, sinister organised crime and apparently random assassinations in a chaotic city drowning in corruption.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Killer Reads in return for an honest review.
On the beautiful island of Capri, a royal princess begins a secret love affair, oblivious to the dangers that surround her. Internationally renowned novelist Kitty Pilgrim chronicles a modern thriller based in the historic volcanic region of Southern Italy. Her characters, archaeologist John Sinclair and oceanographer Cordelia Stapleton, team up once again for a tale of glamour and romance that spans every level of society—from the dangerous criminal underworld of Naples to the jet set of Europe. Amazon UK Amazon
‘Summer of Fire’ reads as a standalone, even though it is the third book in the ‘John Sinclair Mysteries’. If you enjoy adrenaline packed thrillers, this one is for you. The writing is atmospheric and the pacing fast, some of the volcano scenes take your breath as you read.
John Sinclair and Cordelia connect a diverse group of characters and scenarios, which pull the reader into the world of a royal princess hounded by the paparazzi, an organised crime network and a series of volcanic eruptions, which give the book its name. There are plot twists to keep you guessing but it is the gangsters and the volcanoes that make this story worth reading.
In contrast, to the action, John’s and Cordelia’s romance is gentle. Their emotional journey is implicit rather than detailed, presumably because it started at the beginning of the series? I am intrigued enough to want to read the first two books in the series.
This story is action and imagery rather than character driven but is definitely worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Moving countries, cutting all ties and giving birth to her baby alone, Grace Holden is desperately hiding from her past. But just when she thinks she might have broken free, it catches up with her in the form of her millionaire Sicilian husband!
Grace swore her daughter wouldn’t grow up among the dark power and money of his family…but no one walks away from Luca Mastrangelo. Now, back within his reach, Grace is surprised to see new depths to the man she married, and each crack in his armor makes it harder to fight the desire still blazing between them.
The first chapter of ‘What a Sicilian Husband Wants’ is full of suspense and more than a little menace. Not the usual start for a glamorous romance but it intrigued me. Grace is afraid of her own shadow and is reluctant to help the unexpected caller at her door. Her compassionate nature triumphs over her fear but by letting down her guard, she unwittingly lets her past crash into her present existence.
Luca Grace’s estranged husband tracks her down. His presence at their explosive reunion is almost that of a Gothic hero, especially when he discovers Grace’s hidden treasure. Sicily is a picturesque setting but it’s easy to see why free spirited Grace ran away from her beautiful prison.
The flashbacks are insightful and the chemistry between Grace and Luca easy to imagine. Luca, though flawed has some wonderful qualities. Grace is a strong woman, who escapes from the man she loves because his world is sucking the life out of her. Can these two be together when it seems everything but their physical attraction pulls them apart? The ending assures us of happy ever after and is worth the angst.
I am looking forward to meeting the next irresistible Sicilian.